Stuff, Stuff, and More Stuff!


The status of my writing room/study presents an overwhelming de-cluttering project!

“Travel light.” –Jesus, as quoted in Luke 10:4 The Message

 When my mother-in-law passed away 19 years ago, I didn’t want the stuff my husband carted up from his former home. I had my own stuff. And I wanted my home to reflect me and my tastes, not his mother’s. But I love my husband and knew he didn’t want to part with something that was his heritage.

Circumstances of late have led to another season of transferring stuff (mostly from the attic, which was neglected the first time) to our house. So while DH is going through boxes and seeing dollar signs (“I wonder how much this old book would be worth on ebay?”), I’m growling inside. I want to simplify my living space, my calendar, my work schedule, my life. To him these things may be valuable, but to me they’re just clutter.

Clutter not only takes up physical space, but also usurps emotional and mental space we could be using for better things. It raises our stress level and takes its toll on our spirits. Even if we think we’re ignoring it and we say it doesn’t bother us, it does. It won’t go away until we do something about it.

So let’s look at some ways we can de-clutter our lives – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

Pray. This is the first step. Ask for wisdom, insight, discernment. For courage to do what needs to be done, say what needs to be said (in love). For the Holy Spirit’s enabling.

Prioritize. Determine what’s important to you, what you can and cannot live without. Prioritize things. Prioritize your time. It, after all, is most precious and irreplaceable. What things do we do that we don’t feel called to do? That we said yes to because we couldn’t or wouldn’t say no? When you’re fulfilling God’s purpose for you, the joy will just spill out – you won’t be able to contain it. It will energize you.

Prioritize relationships. Which ones build you up, encourage you, energize you, uplift you? Which ones suck the joy, life, and spark out of you? God says we’re to love one another, but that doesn’t mean we’re to allow toxic relationships to poison our inner peace, infect our outlook and attitude, siphon the joy out of our spirits, and deflate our hopes and dreams. Pray for that person, but limit your time with them. Learn to say no. Firmly and politely.

Pay attention. Be alert for red flags – circumstances, gut feelings, advice from a trusted, godly friend or relative, or someone who’s learned lessons in the school of hard knocks, who’s had more experience than you. Seek God’s guidance. Remember Proverbs 3:5–6 and Psalm 37:23.

Pitch. De-clutter, Discard. Dispose. What haven’t you used or worn for a year? What are you hanging on to because you might need it someday? Can someone else use it? Pass it on, then. If not, pitch it.

Plan to live simply from now on. The best way to do this is to learn to say no. To yourself: “No. I don’t need it.” To others. Don’t accept anything merely out of kindness or guilt. Be gracious: “Thank you for thinking of me, anyhow.” Or accept it and put it in the box you have designated to give to charity.

Once you’ve de-cluttered your life, you’ll be amazed at how free you feel, how much joy you have, how much more clearly you’re thinking.

Clutter is a disease that infects not just our physical space but our minds, hearts, and spirits.

Trust God to provide you with what you need. Anything else is just stuff.

Lord, teach me to live simply. Amen.

 Read and meditate on Matthew 11:28–30

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Cat Caper


For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. –Ephesians 6:12 ESV

 That morning I woke up eager to jump right into my day. With nothing pressing on the schedule, I was going to get so much done! I neglected, however, to don my spiritual armor. I just didn’t want to take the time.

My enthusiasm deflated before I even got out of the bedroom when my nostrils caught a whiff of something that belonged in the litter box.

That darn cat! Not mine. I was kitty-sitting my grandkids’ two furry beasts while they were in transition between houses. The past two weeks had not been the picture of feline domestic harmony in the Huey house. Bella, one of the two guest cats, tormented my little Provie (short for Providence), who’s called this place home for 12 years. She’d corner Provie at least once a day, and they’d get into it, hissing and growling and all. Poor Provie was so traumatized she wouldn’t even go downstairs to use her litter box.

So I put a litter box in the upstairs bathroom for her. But wouldn’t you know that darn guest cat filled it. So out it went (the litter box, not the cat) because I couldn’t stand the stench whenever I went into the bathroom. I think that’s why Bella left me a present on the bedroom carpet.

Then there was the hair – light, fluffy gobs refusing to succumb to the vacuum cleaner’s suction but immensely attracted to the seat of my pants. I ran the vacuum every morning after I cleaned the you-know-what from the floor in the laundry room because Ben, the other guest cat, had an aversion to litter boxes.

But I digress. Back to my “I’m going to get a lot done” day.

After removing the mess from the bedroom carpet and treating the spot with stain remover and odor eliminator, I gathered up not one, but three more piles in the laundry room. Then vacuumed the floor and the furniture. And barricaded the beasts in the furnace room­ – with a fresh litter box and plenty of food and water.

Then I took a shower. Cleaning up after cats will do that to you.

Things went kerflooey from there. Nothing went according to plan. I kept picturing fiery darts flying at me all day.

The challenge was not to lose my temper (it just raises my blood pressure and doesn’t do a bit of good), to keep corrupt communication from spewing out of my mouth, and to maintain a calm spirit in the midst of domestic chaos.

The day ended much better than it started. After water aerobics, I spent the rest of the evening with my grandkids decorating Easter eggs at a pysanky workshop.

The next day my feline guests were gone, collected by their people at my request. My Provie came out of hiding.

But other battles will come. Such is life. Another day, another skirmish. If I’ve learned anything from this cat caper, it’s that I’d better put on that armor before I get out of bed.

Thank You, Lord, that You not only provide armor for the battles I face from day to day, but You are right there in the thick of things, on my side, by my side. You are a shield around me. (Psalm 3:3). Amen.

Read and meditate on Ephesians 6:10–20.

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.